Do you know your business?
The organizations where we work have a character like the people in our lives. There is a pattern to the way a company or other type of institution operates. Even separate departments of an organization have a way of doing things. This organizational character can either refer to an entire company or to just part of the organization, like the Marketing department.
William Bridges asserts that certain factors contribute to the character of an organization. The person or people who founded the organization have a big influence over the character of an organization. The industry within which the organization does business influences the way it operates. A hospital has a very different corporate culture from an accounting firm. The product or service offered from organization to customers will influence the character of the organization. The predominant profession of the organization is another influence. A law firm tends to operate very differently from a hair salon.
The fact that the organization is a business influences the nature of the business. The employees that are hired is another factor that determines the culture of the organization. The leaders that come after the founder have an influence over the organization. The history of the organization also is an important factor influencing the character of the organization. If the organization faces bankruptcy, then this historical fact is part of how people make decisions and relate to each other in the organization in the future.
Whether the organization is a hospital, school, business or non-profit, like Habitat for Humanity, it has life cycle. I live in the Santa Clara Valley where ambitious people found start-up organizations. These organizations emerge from the dreams of its founders. Over time, organizations develop the structures and procedures to make the business more routine and efficient. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple Computer in a garage. A couple miles from my office is the Apple Computer building which is the main office of one of the most financially valuable organizations in the world.
Organizations also have an emotional climate, and it can be measured. The Work Environment Scale can measure the dynamics of the work environment. The emotion intelligence of a work environment determines the performance of a work team. Organizations, like individual people, can be more or less mature. Understanding the work environment in which you work has a big impact on your effectiveness in the organization. You have to know your business is an old expression. This is more relevant than ever.
Learning how to manage the person for whom you work is an important set of skills to achieve success in an organization. Please watch this video by Bob Epperly on how to manage up: